I started weekendclub.co in October last year. It was a paid accountability community for Indie Hackers focused on IRL London co-working spaces, and everything was going great, until COVID-19. 😱
Now we run weekly, remote accountability sessions over Zoom and Slack, providing each other early stage product feedback and the motivation to keep shipping consistently, with our members building things like https://simplepoll.rocks, https://VEED.IO and https://calenduck.co.
Last week I shared my story and 10 biggest learnings at Community Chat Summit to over 300 people, and thought the good folks like yourself at Indie Hackers might be interested too.
So without further ado, here they are. Any questions or thoughts, please let me know in the comments 😃
1/ There is no playbook, nobody is coming to save you.
While good resources do exist, to a great extent you need to figure things out. Lots of situations you find yourself in as a founder or community leader fall between the cracks of what people commonly write about.
2/ What works offline, rarely works online.
You can't just dump an offline experience online, it needs rethinking from first principles. To replicate the social side of IRL meetups, we added randomly matched accountability buddies on the Saturday sessions, guided lunch conversations and do DM intros each Wednesday on Slack.
3/ Implement community guidelines early
Community guidelines influence cultural norms, which are far harder to change at 200 members than 20. These should take a clear view on what and who your community's for. 'You can't unbake a cake.'
4/ Do things that (don't) scale
I can't express this strongly enough. In the early days, your user onboarding and customer service should be inefficient, as you're personalising it and taking the extra care. That's what it takes to get off the ground, especially for communities.
At Weekend Club we send new members a personalised welcome pack. While I can't measure to what extent that has helped, I attribute our low churn to things like this.
5/ The platform you use for your remote community is critical
The experience of running a remote community on say, Slack, is very different from Circle or Mighty Networks. There are tradeoffs for each.
Think about who your members are, what they're used to and what they're there for, then work backwards.
6/ You make what you measure
What you measure heavily influences your focus, so choose wisely. Early stage companies with users should have some quantitative idea of how happy their customers are.
Net Promoter Score is popular, but I recommend the product/market fit approach championed by Rahul Vohra at Superhuman https://firstround.com/review/how-superhuman-built-an-engine-to-find-product-market-fit.
7/ Raise prices
This is becoming pretty common advice in bootstrapper world now, but you're far likelier to be under charging (or not charging) than overcharging. I still see this pretty often.
8/ Gamification works
We saw member engagement and general helpfulness towards each other skyrocket after creating a 'Most Helpful' leaderboard. Members can comment a custom emoji on people's posts and it'll automatically assign them a point for that month.
9/ Create more leaders
Half our sessions are now run by another member, James McKinven. At some point you need to give up a degree of control, and give breathing room to your most engaged members. Hiring from within means your community's led by those who understand and care about it.
10/ Build in public
For 95% of companies, building in public is a no brainer. The amount of early feedback I received, free awareness I drove and accountability I gave myself could only have come from sharing what I was building, as I was building it. Share early, and share often.
Agree? Disagree? Let me know! If this sounds like it's for you, sign up for a 30 day free trial at weekendclub.co 🔥